I hope that you’ve not been blown away by our recent stormy weather.
This month I’ve been thinking about all the activities that are available in our fair city. The fairs, festivals, parks, celebrations, and more that happen in the next months are open to all residents at little to no cost and I hope that you will want to take part.
Festivals and Events
First off we have the Canada Day Celebrations happening on July 1st. In Harris Park from 12:00PM to 11:00PM there will be loads of festivities including a First Nations Gathering, Canada Day Ceremony, a birthday cake for Canada, exhibits honouring Canada’s Heroes, community exhibits, vendors, great entertainment and fireworks. A schedule of events can be found at (http://www.londontourism.ca/Events/Canada-Day-Events/London-Celebrates-Canada–Harris-Park)
If you like artisan and farmers markets, there is one to be found every Friday night from 4-8PM until October 16th, at the Goodwill Industries at Horton and Wellington. You can find organic products, hand spun wool, local produce and more. Presented by the SoHo Community Association, more information can be found at http://sohomarket.ca.
Eldon House is hosting FLUX London Dance Festival from July 2nd to 5th. Local artists will be giving demonstrations and on-site lessons, it’s fun for the whole family. Admission is pay what you can. For more information you can visit www.fluxdance.ca.
If you like food, music, and fun from different cultures whom make up London, then look no further than TD Sunfest. Running from July 9th to 12th in Victoria Park, TD Sunfest is considered one of the top three festivals in Canada. This year is its 20th anniversary. Come eat, dance, celebrate and maybe even get some body art. (http://www.sunfest.on.ca)
The Home Country Music and Art Festival is happening from July 17th to 19th at Victoria Park. This is it’s 41st run where you can enjoy live music performed by Canadian artists as well as take in the craft show featuring pottery, jewelry, glass, fine art, textiles, metal, wood, photography and gourmet foods. There is also a family area where kids can develop their own appreciation for music and crafting. (http://www.homecountry.ca).
From July 17th to the 26th London is swapping green for rainbows as we celebrate our pride. There are a variety of events happening all over London to promote inclusion and awareness of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, asexual, intersex and allied citizens, not to mention lots of fun. A couple of events of note are the Outdoor Festival in Victoria Park (July 24-26) and the 21st anniversary of the London Pride Parade (July 26th). (www.pridelondon.ca)
Once again we circle back to Victoria Park, this time for Ribfest. From July 30th to August 3rd, you can enjoy succulent ribs prepared by world class ‘ribbers’ who are battling it out for awards such as ‘Best Ribber’. Over at the ice pad in front of the band shell there will be artists creating ‘Expressions in Chalk. A performance art piece dedicated to bringing the art of street painting to London’s residents to promote our city as a creative destination. (www.canadasbiggestparty.com, http://www.expressionsinchalk.org)
The Forest City Beer Fest takes place on August 15th at Convent Garden Market. This is the city’s annual celebration of good beer in the open air with good friends. This event is 19+. This festival takes place from 3:00PM to 11:00PM. (www.forestcitybeerfest)
On August 23rd Museum London is hosting its 9th Annual Corn Roast in its Wolf Sculpture Garden. Artist Ron Benner roasts corn for all at his garden installation As the Crow Flies. Part sculpture, part installation and part performance, the event will feature Benner’s roving corn-roasting wagon Maiz Barbacoa. The site-specific piece features a pond, garden and corn plants surrounded by black and white laminated photographs that trace the militarization of food and society, as well as themes of activism, environmentalism and global food politics. Musician Frank Ridsdale will entertain us with his resolute songs of political misdemeanours covering a wide geographical range from the Port Stanley harbour to Latin American revolutionary songs. The event is free and open to the public. (http://www.museumlondon.ca/programsevents/programsevents458/)
Those interested in the history of London, or those who are just curious, Museum London hosts walking tours which for free around the city. The July 18th tour is about Murals which a walking tour that explores murals downtown which have been commissioned to adorn our buildings. On July 25th is The River Walk wherein we explore the founding of London and learn about important historical events such as the Great Flood. On August 1th we go From Castles to Cottages, a tour which expounds upon the architectural transformation of historical buildings in the downtown. August 8th brings us Monuments and Memorials which takes us through the downtown core and into Victoria Park visiting the many statues and plaques which commemorate historical events. August 15th looks at Public Art which takes us to visit a selection of sculptures throughout the downtown core where we learn about the artists who made them and the organizations which commissioned them. The August 22nd walking tour: Forest City Modern teaches us about prominent local architects, their visionary clients and the mid-century modern buildings of downtown London that characterized the post-war era. Finally, on August 29th we learn about Unsettling the Thames which focuses on the lives of workers and the early settlement of London as well as life at the Fork of the Thames prior to European contact.
All tours start from the front lawn of Museum London (451 Ridout St. N.) at 10:30AM and finish at noon, and take place weather permitting. Bringing sun protective gear, good walking shoes and water is highly advisable. (http://museumlondon.ca)
Places to Visit
The ARTS Project on Dundas St. houses gallery, theatre and rehearsal space for local artists is both visual and theatrical forms. Most visual art projects are free to visit and is open year ’round Tuesday-Saturday from 12:00PM to 5:00PM. (www.artsproject.ca)
The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame on Dundas Street is the only national organization dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of Canada’s medical heroes. The hall features a distinguished laureate portrait gallery, three feature exhibits, an inspiring laureate quotation wall, a display of stamps from Canada Post reflecting the history of medicine in Canada, and a media theatre. Admission is by donation. (www.cndmedhall.org)
The City of London Greenhouse and Civic Garden Complex is open to the public for free at 645 Springbank Dr. The City of London has been growing its own, high quality, annual flower displays for nine decades. The original greenhouses were replaced in 1985 and added on to again in 1996. The small tropical oasis of the conservatory is open year round Monday-Friday from 12 to 3 p.m. It is beautiful and full of life.
London boasts many natural areas throughout the city that are open year-round including: Kilally Meadows, Meadowlily Woods, Medway Valley Heritage Forest, Sifton Bog, Warbler Woods, and Westminster Ponds. Natural areas are wetlands, meadows, forests, valley lands and other relatively undisturbed lands that are home to many different plants and wildlife. Some contain rare plants, wildlife or landforms, or have features characteristic of the region before European settlement, or are especially large or diverse in habitat. Many natural areas are considered environmentally significant on a local, regional, provincial or even national scale. In addition to the natural areas, London also features approximately 22 kilometers of paved bike paths along the Thames River. In the heart of our urban environment there are preserved natural treasures such as woodlands, meadows and ponds. These environmentally sensitive areas are managed by the City in partnership with local Conservation Authorities. (www.thamesvalleytrail.org)
Museum London is Southwestern Ontario’s leading establishment for the collection and presentation of visual art and material culture. It has public and educational programming for all ages, and it hosts special events and exhibitions. At the heart of a great museum is its collection and Museum London is proud to have one of Canada’s most important art collections, and one of the most significant historical artifact collections in Ontario. Museum London strives to promote the knowledge and enjoyment of regional art, culture and history. Admission is by donation.
Ska-Nah-Doht Village and Museum is located on Longwoods Road Conservation Area. This conservation area is home to a recreated longhouse village from 1,000 years ago; a resource centre with museum and conservation displays; 6km of hiking trails; 155 acres of Carolinian forests, meadows and wetlands (with boardwalk and suspension bridge); accessible buildings, a large pavilion and picnic areas, camping grounds, free parking and more. The buildings are open Monday to Friday except holidays and statutory holidays, from 9:00AM-4:30PM. This is a great place for families, friends and couples to just get away from the city or learn about pre-European history and conservation, or both.